If I had anything resembling shame in my emotional repertoire, I’d probably regret telling you the following. But since I don’t, screw it.
One of the first things I did after learning I was moving to Boston was immediately watch “Good Will Hunting” followed by “With Honors” (R.I.P. Brendan Fraser’s career). I may have also Googled “how to ride the subway” but since outright embarrassment is in my emotional range, I’ll plead the fifth on that one.
And now that I live here and can figure out my way around the city at least 12 percent of the time, I’m even more ridiculously jazzed when I see some movie or TV show set in Boston (since I can now point at the TV and say “Hey, I tried unsuccessfully to get there once!”).
So perhaps that’s why, despite loving the show, I felt a bit disappointed after watching the premiere of the new HBO series, “Girls.”
Another show about young-ish people living and loving in New York City? GASP! SPIT-TAKE! How novel! There hasn’t been anything like that since “Sex and the City,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “2 Broke Girls,” “30 Rock,” “Mad Men,” “Gossip Girl,” “Castle,” “Bored to Death”…should I continue?…cause I can…”Caroline in the City,” “Will & Grace,” “Felicity,” “Spin City,” “News Radio,” “Mad About You,” “The Sopranos”…
And I won’t even mention all the iconic movies (“Annie Hall,” “Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” “Chasing Amy,” “Do The Right Thing,” “Ghostbusters,” “Valley of the Dolls,” “Taxi Driver,” “The Way We Were,” “The Usual Suspects,” “West Side Story,” “Saturday Night Fever”) that are set in the Big Apple.
What the hell, America? Why are the overwhelming majority of movies and TV shows set in New York City? I mean, I get that it’s the city that never sleeps but Boston is the city that always daydrinks, and quite frankly, I don’t see how insomnia beats a kickass noontime buzz. For too long those five damn boroughs have had a monopoly on pop culture.
And even when you do occassionally stumble upon a movie set in Boston, it’s almost always crime/mob related and stars either Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon and/or an Affleck or two, with the random Harvard flick starring awkward white actors thrown into the mix occassionally.
As for TV, all we have is “Cheers” reruns. And…um…”Ally McBeal”? That was in Boston, right? There’s those now defunct Boston Legal/Public/Other Random Generic Occupation shows. And “Risotto & Island” or whatever. And who could forget ”Pizza with Some Dudes and an Annoying Chick” starring a very young Ryan Reynolds.
Is it so hard to believe that twirty-somethings (my not-so-clever mash-up name for anyone aged 20 to 39) could possibly live somewhere else and actually have interesting things happen to them outside of New York? That beautiful, neurotic professionals can live in kickass lofts they could never actually afford because they spend all their time in bars and coffeeshops in Santa Fe or Duluth?
OK, OK, I’ll grant you that all the blame can’t be placed on New York. Writers typically write what they know and since New York is mecca for most writers, it simply makes sense they’d write about where they live. It makes double sense (<—— it’s totally a phrase) when you figure in all the writers that couldn’t hack it in New York and so moved to L.A. to become hack script writers.
But then that means that we writers from other cities need to step it up. Show the world that crap happens in places other than New York and follow the lead of shows like “Portlandia” and “The Office.”
And for us Boston writers in particular, show the world that people can live here without having a run-in with a scary-looking Jack Nicholson trying to whack us.
WHO’S WITH ME!?!
*Sound of crickets and writers quietly packing and purchasing one-way tickets to New York*